Supreme Court Asks For White House Opinion On Madoff Case

Jan 15 2014 | 11:31am ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Obama administration for its opinion on whether it should take up the Bernard Madoff trustee's bid to sue the arch-fraudster's banks.

Irving Picard has asked the court to overturn a lower-court ruling that barred him from suing the Ponzi schemer's banks for nearly $30 billion. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that he lacked the standing to sue on behalf of Madoff's victims; according to that court, he "stands in the shoes" of Madoff and not of Madoff's clients.

This week, the court asked U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli to file a brief outlining the White House's opinion on that decision.

According to Picard, HSBC, UniCredit and UBS "are as responsible as Madoff for the enormous magnitude of customer losses." Picard was also suing JPMorgan Chase, but accepted a $543 million settlement with the bank last week, part of JPMorgan's $2.7 billion deal with the government.

The banks counter that the Second Circuit's decision was in line with precedent and therefore an "unremarkable conclusion."

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